NOTES FROM A SMALL ISLAND (with apologies to US author Bill Bryson, who wrote a book of that title about Britain – it doesn’t feel appropriate to use the ‘Great’ prefix these days)
CRETE is a much smaller island than Britain, but still the largest of the Greek islands and it has not a little in common with us.
For instance, when German paratroopers breezed in in May 1941, a surprisingly large number were met by bayonets, agricultural hay forks and various other sharp implements up their jacksies. It rather put Adolf off the idea of airborne invasions apparently.
The Nazis eventually occupied Crete (thanks in part to Allied cock-ups) but never conquered it and the Cretan resistance that took to this beautiful island’s mountains made the occupiers pay a high price, although their civilian population suffered mass summary executions in retribution.
National identity and independence has always come at a price.
More recently Cretans, like all Greeks, have once again been under the de facto German yoke – this time with the jackboot of the European Central Bank on their throat, enforcing punitive economic constraints.
They were the first victims of what will eventually lead to the collapse of the Euro. Parts of Greece have suffered crippling unemployment under effective-EU financial rule and even though its economy is gradually recovering, youth unemployment is still over 33 per cent.
By comparison, UK unemployment has fallen to its lowest level in 44 years at 3.8 per cent, with wage levels rising much faster than inflation.
All of their woes notwithstanding, I can’t recall meeting friendlier, more cheerful locals anywhere in Europe as the Lockies sneak a week just outside Aghios Nikalaos on Crete’s north coast.
They’re certainly friendlier than my first visit to Crete in 1981, when friends smuggled me out of Chania in the dead of night nursing a variety of injuries inflicted by a local pimp (don’t fret folks, six weeks later I was rubbing shoulders with Frank Sinatra’s glitterati in Palm Springs. Sometimes you just gotta roll the dice).
The Crete weather forecast when we took off on Saturday was hovering just over 80F under cloudless skies, which was the shining light we needed after enduring the concentration camp that is Leeds-Bradford Airport. For the umpteenth time – never again.
As ever, I worried that I should have packed a brolly anyway.
IN THE ‘relax and forget, it’s a holiday’ stakes, I made a grievous error.
Son, plus daughter’s friend, were traveling out the next day so I asked him to bring The Sunday Times.
Just when my blood pressure began to subside I made the mistake of reading the paper. Grrrrr (and that’s even with avoiding the ‘B’ word stories).
‘UK Set For Coldest Winter In 30 Years’ ran one headline. It’s a shame the sub-editor didn’t read the copy, in which some ‘expert’ predicted we may have the seventh worst winter in 30 years.
And excuse me but what exactly is ‘worst’ winter? Give me a week-long deep freeze and six inches of snow anytime, against miserable skies and pouring rain for four months.
Still, knowing our weather experts, I wouldn’t get out the winter wardrobe just because the clocks have gone back. You could need t-shirts in Feb.
‘Chicken Linked To Cancer’ was next. Yup, those KFCs, tandooris and to-die-for mums’ Sunday roasts are a recipe for melanoma, lymphoma and prostate cancer according to another ‘expert’ study.
And why is this, exactly? Such a shame the study/ report didn’t delve that deep. There was no mention of whether the chicken fans studied also spent an hour a day in a tanning booth, or smoked 40 a day.
Coming soon – shock horror, the longer you live, the closer you are to death.
But the doozy, the gold medal-winning bunch of BS, was – ‘BBC Films Teach Kids There Are 100+ Genders’.
For crying out loud. Listen, I’m a with-it guy these days, I fully accept that while there are only two binary genders, men and women, there are a plethora of people somewhere in and amongst, wandering souls who deserve equal rights, respect and treatment (social, not medical, but that too if appropriate) whatever they consider themselves. So let’s just get on with being nice to each other, okay?
But 100-plus genders? Really? Firstly, trust the BBC to be promoting this lunatic, politically correct doctrine to primary school children, but even Stonewall (an impressive 17 variations of ‘trans genders’) and the Royal College of GPs (a miserly six) shrink beneath the strident, hysterical BBC’s shrieks.
The organisation is a disgrace, not just its Pravda-like news department.
AND breathe out … having been sedated by medicinal G&Ts, I eventually relaxed.
This is a lovely resort (Daios Cove) even if the prices are enough to induce repeated wide-eyed Yorkshire exclamations of “how mooch!?”
I said as much by email to a Californian friend whose replied wisdom was profound. “Buddy – at our time in life we’re running out of 10 or 15 years, not 10 or 15 bucks.”
Amen to that (although I simply couldn’t thoil £140 for us to ride round the bay for 20 minutes on an overgrown rubber duck). I’d rather buy my own and set up in competition.
Now there’s a thought, because if ever Comrade Corbyn gets into No.10 I’m sure these lovely Greek folk would welcome us back.
After all, we both know who our friends are.
FAMILY holiday or not, it would be remiss not to at least touch on the tempestuous, unprecedented scenes in the toilet-bowl of Westminster.
Like those German paratroopers in 1941, these Remoaners don’t like it up ‘em, do they?
I didn’t watch the John Bercow pantomime. It would have ruined the week. But keeping the World War II analogy in mind, what do you think would have happened in spring 1940 if senior MPs were found to be colluding with Hitler, trying to bring down Churchill and make us a subservient adjunct of Berlin, like the Vichy French?
That’s not an exaggeration by the way, because only idiots and hysterical Snowflakes still cling to the illusion this is about preventing ‘no deal’ as opposed to staying shackled to Brussels.
And they call Boris a liar? At least he’s fighting for British sovereignty and democracy.
The worrying thing is they’ve spouted their bullshine so long and so loudly they believe it true.
And that is precisely what Labour’s Hillary Benn, (ex) Tory Oliver Letwin, Lib Dem Jo Swinson and their cohorts have been doing – discussing with the EU how best to bring down our Prime Minister and stop Brexit. It is treason by any measure.
At least Philby, Burgess and Maclean were undercover spies. These days the traitors operate in full view.
I’M writing this on Wednesday September 11, the 18th anniversary of the biggest terrorist atrocity modern civilisation has seen.
I doubt that Jeremy Corbyn, on rising from his Islington bed today, spared a moment to think of the people who perished that morning in New York.
But if he did, we have every right to wonder who he prayed for – the 2,977 murdered innocents, or ringleader Mohammed Atta and his 18 fellow Jihadi fanatics. If anything, we must favour the latter likelihood, given that Corbyn’s historic allegiances have been to proscribed Islamist groups like Hamas and Hizbollah, the IRA, and his former paymasters the Iranian government.
He supports anyone that hates the UK, USA and the West and he could be PM in a matter of weeks. You know, I might just buy that speedboat, rubber banana and not come home…